Institutions and the organisation of stability and violence
in Potentials of disorder

This chapter argues that institutions perform three functions which are relevant for the organisation of stability and violence. First, institutions are accepted, trained and sometimes enforced patterns of interaction which 'embed' conflict. Secondly, in general the institutional framework provides the incentive structure for actors. Thirdly, institutions have distributional consequences. The chapter identifies four different stages of the conflict process: 'dis-embedding conflict', 'markets of violence', 'ending violence' and 're-embedding conflict'. The chapter argues that violence and stability in post-socialist societies cannot be explained without considering the hybrid institutional framework of the locality, since it is the local 'traditional' institutions that account for the remarkable variance. This remarkable variance is revealed by comparing the potential hot spots in Yugoslavia and the Caucasus. In the Caucasus, the success of the breakaway territories may be explained by the weakness of the newly independent states.


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